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Jacob da Silva Solis was born into London's Sephardic community on August 4, 1780. He referred to himself as Jacob S. Silva. Arriving in America on October 25, 1803, Jacob almost immediately affiliated with New York's Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue (Shearith Israel). On April 24, 1811, he married Charity Hays, daughter of a Westchester County farmer. They had seven children, the eldest born in 1813 and the youngest in 1827.
Trying to summarize the plot of "Jacob and Jack," currently in its world premier at Victory Gardens in Chicago, is a bit like, well, trying to understand a Yiddish play if you don't speak Yiddish. The viewer quickly gets the sense that something really interesting is happening in the play's myriad flashbacks - which are simultaneously redundant and singular - but even after skimming the Jacob and Jack script, I'm still having trouble keeping the narrative and chronology straight.
When the sons of Jacob went to Egypt for food they became victims of a cruel ruse. As we recently read in the weekly Torah portion, when the provisions the brothers had acquired were loaded on horse and wagon for the return trip to Canaan, the Egyptian viceroy's cup was stealthily planted into the sack of the youngest, Benjamin.
As I write this column I am returning from the Philippines. Yes, the Philippines! Are there any Jews there? Hashem's people are scattered throughout the four corners of the world. And now, as we enter the period described as Chevlei Moshiach, the holy flock has to be awakened and gathered.
Those of you who have been following my column and those of you who have read my books, especially Life Is A Test, know that in the closing chapters, I focus on Acharit HaYamim - the days that will precede our Redemption, known as Chevlei Moshiach - the birth pangs that will herald the coming of Messiah.
On Sunday, February 18, I attended an opening at the Kraft Center for Jewish Life (also known as the Columbia/Barnard Hillel) for the exhibit Words Within.
For the president of Iran, threats to annihilate Israel are now a daily ritual. Were it not for his country's complementary capacity to inflict genuinely existential harms, these threats would not be worrisome. But Iran's capacity to become fully nuclear is now more imminent than had ever been recognized by our own intelligence communities. It follows that a persistent refrain of genocidal intent issuing from Tehran must now be taken with utmost seriousness in Jerusalem.
We have documented 1,800 years of Jewish Art production in the preceding five sections of the "Jewish Art Primer".
After a long and taxing day at work, followed by the usual battle with rush hour traffic, Joe finally arrived home.